A Weird Limbo…

I realized that my life is in kind of a weird limbo.  I have slowly regained what most consider a normal life back… I have my own place, a job, car, et cetera.  But really I live two lives, one when the kids are over and we go do things, hang with friends and enjoy ourselves… And then a second of isolation that occurs when I’m kidless where I mainly stay home and save the podcast and work have very little other human contact.  This is part because of the weird hours I keep and part due to a lack of desire.

The other day we were driving in the car and Lucy asked “Daddy when are you going to get married?”  Now marriage is top of her mind because her Moms wedding is just weeks away, thus it’s been a big topic in that household.  This question got me thinking about my Dad (and how I fear I will turn into him, seeing the similarities in the way our lives have played out).  After he and my Mom divorced (Mind you, under very different circumstances than my divorce) he dated a few women.  There was one he was pretty interested in (even at my young age I could tell)… But tragically, she killed herself during their relationship.  I think this was the last punch he could take, because after that he moved on to a safer bet…  Someone who owned their own home (solving a housing issue he had, as he too had gone through a bankruptcy) and who for lack of a better word was crazy and either wouldn’t leave him and if she did I don’t think he would have cared.

It was when he got into this relationship that a rift developed between he and his children.  She is a horrible person, but she suited his needs and to their credit they are still together today.  I, on the other hand, have no desire to just be with someone, especially based on financial reasons.  Through the whole divorce process I felt “owned” due to my lack of power…  The court system owned me, controlling when I saw my children then and for the duration of our lives, deciding how much money I was allowed to keep (At one point they ruled I had to give up more than 90% of my take home pay), My Ex owned me and still does in that she can threaten legal action that she knows I cannot afford if I contest her decisions, so the idea of getting into a relationship I feel owned in couldn’t be less desirable.

I’m not one of those people that has to be with somebody… We all have those friends who are never single and constantly have to be with someone.  I would rather never again be in a relationship than to be with someone just to fill a relationship void.  After going through what I have the last 2 1/2 years I will seriously think things through before allowing myself to trust someone wholly and completely.

So I explained to Lucy on that car ride that Daddy didn’t need to get married…  And then she said something that really broke my heart.  She said “But if you did our step-mom could watch us while you’re at work.”  She was really just looking for a way to visit longer… With my new work schedule the kids can only come over midweek if my Mom is available to stay the night and watch them.  And again I thought about my Dad and how I may be following the same course, he distanced himself from my sister and me through a relationship and I am doing it through work… The only difference is I have to work and given the current economic environment I can’t be too picky.  So I try and make the best of the time I have with them and not begin a rift that my Dad let tear further and further apart until there was no way to across the valley created.

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  • Diane Judd

    Jack, you ARE NOT your father!!! You are a loving dad that just has funky hours at work, so your time with the kids is chopped up more… You do so much for them and are constantly showing them how much you love them and want to be with them!!! In today’s economic world, having a parent that is working a 9-5 job is rare… Yes, you are lucky to have a great Mom and sister to help you out, but as the children get older, they will see that your situation is just plain old different… Your efforts are clearly seen by anyone who knows you and your situation… You would NEVER let anyone seperate you from your darling kids and would do anything and everything to prove your love for them!!! You were so smitten with Sparkles, that you lost yourself in her and you are now like a butterfly emerging from it’s shell… You are strong, loving and intelligent and can stand on your own 2 feet, not having to stand with someone else to make you a whole person… We all would love the perfect job, hours and pay, but life just doesn’t go that way and we try and make the best choices to our own story… Keep it up, you are doing great!!! Diane from the Tragic Kingdom

  • Jan

    Don’t worry Jack you won’t turn into your Dad because you know what you went through when you were a kid and you are not going to do that to your children. You are a wonderful father and just by what Lucy said to you so she could spend more time with you is a testament to that. I am a single mom raising my son all alone without any support from the father in anyway. I never remarried or got into another relationship because of fear and not wanting to let my son down again with some guy. Anyway Jack you are the Dad all kids want, my son has said to me I wish I had a dad like Jack. He’s 14 and I let him listen to the podcast occasionally so he knows what you are like.
    You are very fortunate and your family is great to you and your kids.

  • Jack,
    You are a very strong and smart person and have endured a considerably amount of pain in the last 2 1/2 years. In due time, you will be able to switch your hours or obtain a new job to spend more time with your kids. Just think where you were at last year around this time and how life how things have improved.
    I went thru a pretty nasty divorce over 18 years ago and to date I still rememberr the pain but I am currently married to a very loving and amazing husband and have been for over 10+ years. . There is hope….. have faith, a positive outlook and just remember to choose wisely. I never had a thought I would not marry again only that I would never again put up with the same crap!

  • Karen

    The difference for you Jack above all other men who might look to a relationship for financial security, to ward off loneliness, or any other reason is kind of father you are. Any woman you chose to have a relationship will have to care about both you and your kids. Much as you would like to have your kids with you more and having a woman to look after them while you were at work, you will be careful to make sure that she truly adores them and you as well. They don’t need more disruption if it doesn’t work out. Who is to say, their mother’s impending marriage will work out – she doesn’t have the world’s greatest track record when the going gets tough. You on the other hand, have survived some of life’s ultimate tests and come through kind, decent, and with your sense of humor still intact. And that you are a great dad makes you quite the catch.Give it time, you haven’t made it this far to settle and when you least expect it and aren’t looking for it, love will find you again.

  • Karen

    The difference for you Jack above all other men who might look to a relationship for financial security, to ward off loneliness, or any other reason is kind of father you are and you really can’t compare yourself to your dad or anyone else. He was from a different time when fathers weren’t as involved and you truly get your kids as distinct individuals developing before your very eyes. Not every parent, mother or father gets that.

    Any woman you chose to have a relationship will have to care about both you and your kids. Sure, you would like to have your kids with you more and having a woman to look after them while you were at work would make that more likely. However, from what I have come to know of you, you will be careful to make sure that she truly adores them and you as well. They don’t need more disruption if it doesn’t work out. Even if you can’t be with them all the time now, they have come to know that you are always there for them and they come first in your life.
    Who is to say, their mother’s impending marriage will work out – she doesn’t have the world’s greatest track record when the going gets tough. You, on the other hand, have survived some of life’s ultimate tests and come through still kind, decent, and with your sense of humor still intact. And that you are a great dad makes you quite the catch.Give it time, you haven’t made it this far to settle and when you least expect it and aren’t looking for it, love will find you again and this time you come wrapped in a delightful package of three.

  • silly woman

    Smart men learn from others mistakes. You have choices. It is only when things are hard that you realize what you are truly made of, and you are made of the stronger more honorable stuff Jack.

    and with your children, it is not the amount of time spent, it is the quality of the time you spend with them.

    Take care, keep learning and loving and living, it gets better when you least expect it to.
    Sue…

  • Connie in Colorado

    Dear Jack ~
    I totaly agree with all of the above! Karen couldn’t have said it better. You are a kind, strong, loving, decent, honorable man, and your kind are hard to find. Your kids will always remember all the great times with you & they will know how much you care & love them, so quit worrying so much! You are doing an awesome job, and like everyone has said, compared to a year ago, you are climbing to the top of the world Jack! We are all here if you need us, but I know you are going to be just fine being “Jack”. You have learned from your Dad, and that was his purpose, to teach you….how lucky your Mom & sister are to have you in their lives! I would be proud to have you as a son or son-in-law.

  • hang in there

    Remember that show…. kids say the funniest things (or something like that). She’s looking to problem solve like you said. Definitely. For her own desires, of course like most kids. Can you blame her? You are awesome and you listen to her when she talks and says whatever is on her mind. That is why most us girls grow up to love our dads so much. Those of us lucky enough to have fathers that listen, are truly lucky. She is just speaking from her heart. And you reassured her. That is all she needed to hear.

    Keep on keeping on Jack. The effort of your caring and love for her is what she sees.

  • nicole

    Jack- I have said this before- and I will say it again- I have followed you since the Jamie and Danny days- and when you fist met your ex- You are a terrific person and obviously a GREAT dad. I am so sorry things turned out this way- but you re sill young and deserve to meet someone and have a life that compliments the life you have with your children! All you do is rave about Lucy and Bing- They know how much you love and cherish them! But you MUST learn to trust women again- they are not selfish disloyal- need I go on? It is hard- but one day you will see that you were saved from a life with someone who did not deserve you! But there are plenty of woman out there who would be lucky to share their lives with you and your beautiful children… So don’t give up on yourself- your kids deserve a Dad who takes care of himself too!